Biomass power plant to be pushed back in Western Australia

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has recommended a development extension for a proposed 40MW wood-fired biomass power plant in Western Australia until 2019.

WA Biomass – the proponent of the biomass plant planned for Diamond Mill near Manjimup, 300km south of Perth – received planning permission in 2009, with the condition construction was to start within five years.

The EPA has recommended the current environment minister, Albert Jacob, approve the extended timeline to 2019; a date that was requested by WA Biomass.

A spokesman for the minister said Mr Jacob is required under the Environmental Protection Act to consult with other WA ministers before making a final decision, which he will do in due course.

Opponents of the Diamond Mill biomass have objected to the development saying native Karri trees, some of which are more than 400 years old, would be used to fuel the plant, according to Energy Business News.

Furthermore, the No BioMass Action Group, a local opposition group representing food producers in the region, said the WA government promotes the Manjimup area as the food bowl of the South West; a reputation that will be damaged if the biomass plant is built.

“This area is prime agricultural land and should never be a location which is going to burn 380,000 tonnes of wood a year, which is going to have uncertain results in terms of pollution,” the group’s spokesperson Mr Bartholomaeus told ABC News.